Prosecutors: Ill. EMS providers charged with murder lied to investigators
Peggy Finley also is accused of trying to improperly influence a police officer
Body camera footage has been released in the case of two Illinois EMTs charged with first-degree murder following the death of a 35-year-old patient in their care.
This is not the first high-profile case of charges filed against EMS providers in recent years. In “Malpractice or murder: When do EMS providers cross the line from negligence to crime?”, Page, Wolfberg & Wirth attorneys Doug Wolfberg, Esq., and Steve Wirth, Esq., break down the facts of the case and the important lessons to be learned for EMS professionals nationwide, and explain why bodycam footage carries substantial weight in determining criminal charges. The two also discuss how a guilty verdict comes down to a “guilty state of mind.”
Are first-degree murder charges warranted in this case? Should EMS providers be protected from criminal charges when caring for patients? Share your thoughts with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to be included in our ongoing coverage of this case.
By Leila Merrill
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The EMS providers charged with first-degree murder after strapping patient Earl Moore Jr. face-down on a stretcher made multiple false statements to investigators, and one of them "improperly attempted to influence" a police officer, according to prosecutors.
Moore died during on Dec. 18 following an ambulance ride from his home to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield.
EMS Providers Peggy Finley and Peter Cadigan were seen on bodycam video treating the patient. An autopsy report listed Moore's cause of death as positional asphyxia caused by being restrained in a prone position.
The two EMS providers were denied a bond reduction Monday, Insider.com reported. They remain in Sangamon County Jail, and their bond is set at $1 million each.
In a court filing, Sangamon County State’s Attorney Dan Wright alleged that Finley initially lied to hospital staffers and that both Finley and Cadigan lied to Illinois State Police investigators.
Finley described Moore as "combative" in her patient care report, but the police body cam video showed no combative behavior by Moore, and "to the contrary, showed a man in a weakened and confused state of medical distress," Wright said.
The documents also show that Finley told investigators that the ambulance’s lights and siren were on while she and her partner transported Moore, but surveillance footage showed no lights and no siren.
In a text message to Cadigan and another EMS provider hours after Moore died, Finley wrote, "MY f***up was not having SPD flip him over on his back, and transporting him prone. And that was MY f***up!!!"
A Springfield police officer who saw the two EMS providers treat Moore at his home said he got a call from Finley shortly after Moore's death, Insider reported. She explained that the officer would likely need to provide a statement saying that Moore was responsive while at the residence and “was a 'different patient' from the time he was picked up by EMS to when he arrived at the hospital," according to the documents.
Cadigan told investigators he had never received training on the risks of positioning and transporting a patient facedown, the court documents said. But investigators later learned that he received training on the subject fewer than six months before Moore's death.
The EMS providers’ attorneys did not respond to the Insider’s request for comments.
You’ve seen the footage – Now what?: Part 2
Teaching points from the ‘malpractice or murder’ case: Action steps for EMS practitioners